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Honolulu Highs, or Waikiki Woes?

burglover Jun 16, 2008 03:32 PM

I'm taking my daughter to Waikiki Beach for 5 days next week -- she's 12, but a very adventuresome eater for a faux-vegetarian (she eats fish, raw and cooked). Are there any interesting restaurants in the Waikiki area, or will I have to make do cruising the local hotel scene? I'm also curious if there are any luau's or other such touristy events that have decent food? So much appreciate all advice!

  1. KaimukiMan Jun 16, 2008 07:49 PM

    Keo's (Thai) in Waikiki has a number of vegetarian dishes. If she eats fish, almost any decent restaurant in Honolulu will do a good job. As for Luau's, some friends of mine did the Polynesian Cultural Center last week with relatives who were in town. They did the full day event and said the "luau" was pretty good, and the show was well done. It's not cheap, and it makes for a long day, but they enjoyed it.

    link on fish: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/522852
    a recent (frequent) visitor's comments: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/522828

    or look at the recent Ilima Awards, then do a search (in here or elsewhere) for comments on them… http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/spe...

    hope this gets you off to a start at least.

    1. t
      torta basilica Jun 17, 2008 05:36 PM

      My daughter loves Hula Grill and Roy's is great for young teens. If she's into it, the Food Court at Ala Moana offers every choice possible. For a nice upscale 'Ladies Lunch,' Mariposa at Neiman Marcus is lovely on the patio.

      3 Replies
      1. re: torta basilica
        Bill Hunt Jun 22, 2008 07:53 PM

        I second Mariposa, though I do not recall veg-only dishes. I'll pull up my copy of their menu and look for this.

        KaimukiMan's suggestion for Keo's would also have been one of my choices. I really loved the old location on Kapahulu (think it is long gone), but about the time of the expansion (Ward Center and others), the reviews went downhill. We've not done the location in Waikiki, but would hope that the old magic is back!

        Lu`aus can be a bit of a problem. Too often, the food is pedestrian, at best. I love the PCC, but will skip out on the meal next time. We've done the VIP passes on the last three visits, and I highly recommend spending the $'s, as you have your own, personal tour-guide. A lot of "backstage" interaction, if you wish - and we do. I'm less of a fan of big productions, but PCC does them well. Now, for the "lu`au:" it is not really a lu`au, in the strictest sense. One goes into the cafeteria, after the last show. The VIP group gets full run of the place, but the food is just so-so. Like I said, I'd do a full day with the VIP package, and then head out, after the last show - the heck with the $. Maybe a stop in Hawai`i Kai for the evening meal. Yeah, it's not managing one's money wisely, but you will not be sorry.

        One suggestion for a 12 year old, young lady - Sunday Brunch at Orchids, Halekulani is a real treat. She'll want a nice "sun dress," and maybe pick her up a hat for the "event," but if I had children, this would be a "must-do." Do not know about the veg-meals, but they have so very much, that one can certainly fill up on great food, of all sorts. It is as much a production, as it is a dining-fest. It is also something that she'll remember for decades. Though it's now a few years old, you can get an idea from: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/334698

        Read down near the end for the review of Orchids.

        As for where to seek out great dining, do not be put off by resort restaurants. Unlike most areas of the US, Hawai`i, especially O`ahu, has some great "resort" restaurants. This is not meant to diminish the free-standing, chef-driven spots, just to point out that you will likely NOT find "hotel-fare."

        Enjoy and have a wonderful experience!


        1. re: Bill Hunt
          akq Jun 25, 2008 02:40 PM

          Second the rec for Orchids. I don't have kids but Orchids Sunday brunch is still a must-do for me on each trip back to Hawaii. The food is excellent, the setting is beautiful. Book early because they do fill up - I made my September brunch reservations in March this year, but then, I am going on a holiday weekend and cannot miss my favorite brunch!

          1. re: akq
            Bill Hunt Jun 26, 2008 09:52 PM

            Great point. I usually book restaurants about 6 mos. out, regardless. Other than trying for too early (too far out), I've never been disappointed, and Orchids IS popular.


      2. manomin Jun 17, 2008 08:12 PM

        If you are here on a Friday you could try Hank's Haute Dogs, their special that day is
        the lobster dog. Also he always has the chicken dog with this awesome mango relish
        or "no dog" any condiments on the bun without a hotdog. His onion rings are perfect
        and his fries are great too. He has some fun beverages like hibiscus iced tea and a great frozen lemonade. Cash only, lots of fun and neat things to look at on the walls,

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